Saudi Arabia: This is who we are


Stability of monarchies is in sharp contrast to the failure of Arab republics

Napoleon Bonaparte once said that monarchy was the most sensible and effective form of government.

In any history or course on political theory in the West, it is taken for granted that a monarchy is bound to evolve eventually into a republic and then into a more appropriate fully democratic republic. While this may have indeed occurred in most European countries, it has little bearing on which system is most successful and appropriate in various non-Western contexts. What we have seen over the past months in the Arab world is that monarchies have proved far more stable and successful at meeting the needs of their people than imperfect republics that were set up to replace overthrown monarchies and have now in turn been overthrown.

Arab states took their modern forms only in the 20th century, with some reaching independence only after World War II. Initially there were many monarchies and very few republics. As nationalism swept the region, Arab republics were created, and they are the countries that mostly lie in chaos today. From Iraq and Syria to Egypt and Libya, the results achieved by those republics lie far below the expectations of their people. Tellingly, they also lie far below the results registered by the region’s rather stable and successful monarchies.

The point here is not to elevate Arab monarchies as superior political systems, but to illustrate that the dream of a republic has more often than not ended in a painful awakening, while Arab monarchies in comparison have provided greater stability and prosperity for their people. In North Africa, Morocco has recently shown the most stability and purposeful direction, although it does not enjoy the same resources that countries such as Algeria or Libya do.

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Categories: Asia, Middle East, Saudi Arabia

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